Matthew Carter

Writer working with the British Red Cross on issues to do with refugees, asylum and international family tracing.

Posts by Matthew Carter:

Refugee writers face the ultimate test: peek behind the scenes at Hay festival

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Theresa Mgadzah Jones with two of her class

You’ll no doubt have heard about the Europe refugee crisis almost every day for months now. But among the daily news headlines the voices of those who have fled conflict and persecution can be lost – especially the voices of women.

Today is different. Ten women will be sharing their personal stories at the Hay Literary Festival in Hay-on-Wye.

These women all have a different story to tell. They have found their voices and formed a strong support group at the free English lessons provided by the British Red Cross in Newport.

Now they are putting their English to the test –performing in front of a festival crowd.

Don’t have tickets to Hay? Here is an exclusive sneak peak of what they have come to share.

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“I will keep trying and I will break free”: One refugee artist’s long journey back to her easel

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drawing of weeping eye

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” 

This famous line of Picasso’s resonates with Mays Al Ameer more than most.

Her passion for drawing, indeed her whole childhood, was cut short when her family were taken hostage in Iraq.

Now settled in Poole, she is part of a Red Cross art group designed to encourage community ties and a sense of belonging.

We meet her at an exhibition of her work at the Poole Lighthouse to hear about what brought her to the south coast, as well as her hopes for the future. More

Bringing up a baby in a car: how our asylum system is failing families

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Red Cross volunteer speaks to Dilipa

Before the war life was good for Dilipa. She loves her country – the weather, the fresh produce, the lifestyle.

But after 2000, hostilities between the government and Tamil separatists increased. Life for ordinary Tamils in Sri Lanka became more and more difficult.

Members of Dilipa’s family were questioned and even tortured. They would get arrested for small things such as not having an ID card on them.

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Letters from a crisis: goodbye to new friends

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boy

Having spent a month in a refugee camp in northern Greece, Gwen Wilson is now preparing to say goodbye.  

Some of her refugee volunteers have decided to apply for asylum in Greece. Others are still hoping the borders will open.

Writing to you for the final time, retired nurse Gwen gives her impressions on life on the front line of Europe’s refugee crisis.  

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Letters from a crisis: local help and a premature baby

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mother and young child

How do you begin to organise a refugee camp?

Gwen Wilson has seen it all. After retiring as a nurse, she worked in Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis. Now Gwen has swapped her life in Sheffield for a refugee camp in northern Greece.

Writing to you from Thessalonica, Gwen gives her impressions of life on the front line of Europe’s refugee crisis.         

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Syria – where do we go from here?

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Devastation in Homs

Syria today is a source of both hope and frustration.

Over the weekend, one hundred trucks carrying food and medical supplies reached the besieged town of Al Rastan for the first time since 2012.

Yet still people are forced to flee their homes. One day earlier, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) evacuated more than 500 people from Madaya, Zabadani, Foua and Kefraya.

There’s a perception among some in the outside world that the situation in Syria is getting better now. It’s not.

Even in areas that have experienced a respite from the constant thud of mortars, the eerie silence that remains reveals another problem. How will people ever come back and pick up the pieces?

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